L a m a . J i g m e . R i n p o c h e

Part 1


To attain mind's original qualities we need to practice equanimity. We have to accept that which occurs without changing anything. We are prejudiced about what mind is and here are some misconceptions: "mind is empty," "we have to stop the emotions and thoughts." Our idea is we have to do something, but this runs contrary to meditation.

Meditation is not doing anything. It is being in the presence of mind where there is equanimity. Whatever happens, inside or outside us, we do not stop or block it. It has no importance and we just leave it. The disposition of mind during meditation is such that there is no expectation or any idea of consequences. For meditation to be effectual there has to be no expectation. Humility about who we are or what we do is important. We constantly have hopes and fears thereby giving rise to tensions, even when we are supposed to be calm. For example, during meditation, when you don't know how to meditate, after a few seconds you'll be looking both internally and externally: "Am I meditating well? Is the room quiet? When will that noise stop?" The real obstacle is at that point when you expect or fear something. Lighten up ... whatever happens just let it go. There is really no "good" or "bad" meditation. You should not worry about whether or not you are contemplating.

Be aware of how you function. Meditation is making room for this awareness. Just be there, not doing or adding anything. Meditation is like any activity. There is first the theory; then it has to be put into practice. We have to leave behind our habitual tendencies as described earlier. Effort is necessary in meditation with the knowledge that it is a clear state without any expectations. We have a tendency to always judge what we did in the past, denying our actions if they were deemed negative. It is more effective if we reflect and consider whether an experience is useful for whatever reason. We should look upon it not as a source of conflict with the self, but for a better understanding of self.

All the "wrong" meditations are in fact "good' support for contemplation. Terms for the contemplation are: no fabrication, no production. The consciousness is present and exposed to the multitudes of phenomena. Even the checking to ensure that there is no fabrication is fabrication again. Naturally, meditation is not a state which can be described in its usual sense. We should dispense with words and the descriptive terms for they are not "the state."

A good technique to apply is "to allow to settle," that is, let the body and mind to calm. An analogy is like agitated water - leave it for a while, then, whatever particles are there will sink to the bottom and the water will become clear again. The body must be in a calm state. Walking is all right but running might make it difficult. There should be no talking. Reduce the production of thoughts, which means to let go and be in the present. Don't try to do anything. As with water, if you try to take anything out it will not stay clear anymore, so don't interfere. This state of calm and lucidity of the mind is perfect presence like a tape recorder taking in everything that is happening without selection or judgment. The point is not to cover up the eyes or ears with our fingers. For example, during meditation, a change in light may be construed as: "It is becoming more cloudy and then, later, it might rain." You are no longer meditating if you think like that. Or if you hear people talking, and you think, "what are they saying," there is no meditation again. One should come back to the meditation and not follow the thoughts. Like someone watching a show, you look at everything.

More favorable condition for meditation is a calm place with no rock music band playing. Complete silence is not necessary all of the time. You will gradually learn to integrate all external events in the meditation such as people talking outside. It is just like that - not good or bad. Initially, you will fall again and again into the trap - not serious contemplating. The only obstacles to your meditation are your reactions to thoughts and judging whether something is good or bad. Slowly integrate all the events into the meditation session. If you are sometimes distracted and you realize it, you are no longer disturbed. A common stumbling block is that we practice meditation to achieve some improvement or result. There is always the tendency to check if it is good or bad, better or worse. These are really the only real obstacles to meditation. Even if your meditation was calm and then afterwards you judge it to be good, then it means that the previous session or the one to follow will not be as good.

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